From the moment we read Josh Sutton's Guyrope Gourmet blog, at www.guyropegourmet.com, we were hooked. While reading of his campfire suppers, even the most ardent anti-campers will feel a tug at their hearts, the wind through their hair and the irrepressible penchant to "have a go" at outdoor cooking. Josh gives us the benefit of his many years' expertise in cooking outdoors with maximum style, ease and flavour, throughout the seasons. He shares two favourite spring time recipes; a warming lamb stew and mussels with beer and coriander. Don't forget the cardigan.
Spring cooking with the Guyrope Gourmet - by Josh Sutton
I believe that camping and cooking go together like a Cox's Apple and a lump of cheddar, whatever the weather, whatever the season. It’s a great opportunity to cook up a meal for friends and family and take in the great outdoors. But for many people, the thought of camping means a ceaseless barrage of awful tinned and processed food over a weekend. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I hope that my seasonal series of articles will help you be a little more creative.
The weather is easing and the more enthusiastic of us are gearing up for the camping season. With Spring just around the corner, there are a whole host of exciting ingredients finding their way onto shop shelves up and down the country. Spring lamb, purple sprouting broccoli, early rhubarb, asparagus and mussels - they are all there to tempt you into trying something a little different in the camping kitchen.
Cooking when camping is not that difficult, it merely takes a little planning as the comforts of the home kitchen are not as easily to hand. Be sure to bring along a few basics as well as the essential extras which come to hand at home: a range of spices & herbs, good salt and black pepper, flour for thickening sauces, bouillon or stock cubes and olive oil.
Seasonal cooking, using locally sourced ingredients really adds a sense of adventure to a camping trip. Farmers' markets are always a great place to pick up local ingredients. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across a W.I. market, you can pick up some delicious home made cakes and jams, as well as a pair of cosy hand-knitted socks to keep your toes toasty back at camp. There’s nothing like a day in the great outdoors for working up a serious appetite, and what better way to enjoy good food in the comfort of your own little patch of the great British countryside. Whether you are a seasoned camper or a novice, you too can become a Guyrope Gourmet. Get back to nature, dig out some local seasonal ingredients, prepare yourself a feast and truly feel the swing of the seasons.
As well as taking advantage of seasonal food, one of the great attractions of camping for me is the chance to sample a whole range of local produce depending on where we pitch up. Where better to rustle up a tasty lamb stew than in the Cambrian mountains? Spring brings out the early flowers and a few of the more adventurous family campers. We usually head for the coast for a long weekend around Easter time, a good excuse to treat everyone to my favourite camping cuisine. Mussels are always easy to find near the coast, and cooked in a matter of minutes, this dish really is fool proof.
A Simple Lamb Stew
This is a hearty dish and really simple to prepare. Of course you don’t have to be pitched in a field in Wales to get the best out of it, but as far as I’m concerned, that would definitely make it taste better. You could use a couple of decent neck fillets, but I find that they take a little longer to cook, so I use a bit of diced leg as it’s easier on the camping gas. You’ll need a thick-bottomed pan with a lid.
Ingredients to serve 4 people
500g diced lamb
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 glass of red wine
12 baby new potatoes
1 tsp of bouillon or a vegetable stock cube
1 tsp paprika
1 desert spoon of plain flour
A sprig of thyme
A spring of rosemary
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1. Chop the onions and simmer gently in olive oil for a good five minutes until they soften and begin to take on a lovely golden colour. While the onions are simmering, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan along with the diced lamb.
2. Add the flour together with a good grinding of black pepper and a pinch of salt and stir, making sure the meat is sealed on all sides. Add the paprika and bouillon and stir in the wine.
3. Peel the carrots and slice, add to the pan together with the whole potatoes. Add the thyme and rosemary and pour in about a pint of water. Bring to boil and reduce to a gentle simmer with the lid on for 30 or 40 minutes. Serve with steamed purple sprouting broccoli or spring greens.
Mussels with beer and coriander
Ingredients to serve 4 people
1kg Fresh Mussels
1 Bunch of fresh coriander
1 small red onion
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 small ‘stubby’ of lager (33cl)
Black pepper & flaked sea salt.
Crusty bread for serving
1. Use a large stockpot or a wok with lid. Clean & de-beard the mussels in fresh water, discarding any open ones that don’t close when tapped with a knife.
2. Finely chop the onion and soften in olive oil over a moderate heat.
3. Add the washed mussels and the chopped tomatoes and stir well.
4. Add the seasonings and pour in the beer. Place a lid on the pot and let it simmer for three or four minutes (depending on how well cooked you like the mussels). Meanwhile, chop a good handful of fresh coriander.
5. Remove the pot from heat and add the coriander. Let the pot stand for a minute. Discard any mussels that do not open after cooking and serve with chunks of crusty bread.